1 English Zac 2 Alex 3 Good Larry
4 Hal 5 Italian Ukrainian Zak
6 John Bird 7 Southern Steve 8 Gash
9 Leon 10 James
12 Southern Paul 13 Adam
11 Siti Kyn 14 Angert 15 Irish Paul
16 Dan Saxby
17 Mark Given
Whitton Lions cup run started at home facing Ealing Exiles, James led a strong squad of young players (the Lions started with ten out fifteen players under the age of thirty) from fly half, Ealing on the other hand had a more experienced looking side.
From kick off, Ealing fumbled and number eight Gash pounced on the loose ball leaving Lions camped just outside the Exiles twenty two for the early phases of the game. The pressure told and a rampaging Kini scored the first try - some slick passing across the backline and our feisty Fijian dotted down in the corner, Southern Paul converted off the tee.
The second try came from Adam who scored the second try racing past defenders then rounding off under the posts to give Southern Paul an easier conversion.
A third try looked on as Kini and James made the break but failed to link up at the last moment.
The third try continued to elude Lions when James made a break and Leon followed up in support but the referee disallowed the try due confusion over which line was actually the try line! Those pesky blue and white lines.
An injection of energy for the lines when John Bird came off and was replaced by Mark Given who provided strong running and crunching tackling and helped release Kini on another strong run that set up the elusive thrid try.
Kini’s powerful running brought him within inches of the posts and then the ball was swung wide to James and he jinked his way over the line. James then scored his hatrick, and Lions 4th, rounding defenders and going slightly off compass before scoring under the posts.
Before the game could get away from them, Ealing made a push and had concerted pressure in the Lions twenty. Steve and Larry put in a strong defensive shift however eventually Ealing manged to spread the ball wide to score their first try.
This could have been a turning point in the game with Ealing’s forwards ramping up the pressure just before halftime, however Adam killed off hopes of a hope giving half time try by intercepting a looping pass out wide to scamper through to score the try.
The second half kicked off and Gash gave scrumhalf Leon a strong base from number eight and Lions were able to move the ball wide for James to score his fourth. In a game growing increasingly physical as frustrations grew, Hal put in a strong defensive shift, doubling as hooker, flanker, Second row and fight instigator.
Eventually Ealing managed to score their second, although photo evidence proves what the crowd knew, that the ball was dropped before being grounded. Sadly, the lack of investment in Whittons TV referee and video replay big screens may have cost them (!).
Ealing scored a third deep into the second half and continued to pressure the Lions defence but it was too little too late as Lions kicked off their cup campaign in giant killing form.
Final score 44-12
MOM Hal for outstanding defence in a physical second half
DOD Irish Paul for missing three easy kicks in front of the posts.
Lions progress to the quarter finals of the cup in December and will be joined by Ickenham who beat Twickenham 3’s 17-40, other results to follow. Next week Lions make the journey to East London to play Hackney 4’s.
At the end of the game we said goodbye to one of the Lions stalwarts Alexandro Manuel Juan Sabin, Alex is going to learn to be Manuel at the Hotel La Faulty Towers and breed a Menorcan horse called Granny’s Boy. Apparently the Lions are going on tour to Alex’s hotel next year but as Alex doesn’t know if the hotel has twenty seven or two hundred rooms, the Lions will probably have been booked into the stables with Granny’s Boy.